Will an Affordable Dentist Help a Minor?

I have a problem. I’m a teenager (13) and still suck my thumb. I’m really embarrassed about it. I don’t want my parents to know but it is making my teeth stick out. The kids at school make fun of me about my teeth. Is there a dentist that won’t charge me too much and would let me come without my parents knowing? I need to find out what to do about my thumb sucking and my teeth. I can pay some. I’ve got a little business I do knitting scarves for people.


Dear Olivia,

Child with Pediatric Dentist

I’m so sorry the kids at school are giving you a hard time. I’m even more sorry you feel like you have to deal with this on your own. I wish you felt like you could talk to your parents. I don’t know your situation. Hopefully, there is some trusted adult in your life you feel safe with.

If you don’t feel safe, please tell a teacher or police officer. I also want to commend you on having a business at your age. You sound like a gal who’s going to change the world and I’m very proud of you.

Finding a dentist who’ll work with you financially isn’t a problem. Most would be happy to work with you. The biggest issue is the fact that you’re a minor. Legally, dentists cannot treat you without your parents there. They could lose their license. But, don’t get discouraged yet. I may have a way to help.

Affordable Ways to Stop Thumb Sucking

About any general pharmacy will have a type of clear nail polish designed to help people stop sucking your thumb. It’s not very expensive. You essentially just paint it on your thumb and the taste is so foul that it prevents you from sucking y our thumb.

This will deal with your thumb sucking problem but not your teeth. I’m guessing your parents don’t take you to the dentist regularly. I’d tell them your teeth are bothering you. When your teeth are out of alignment it can lead to migraines and even TMJ problems.

You may do some up front research ahead of time to look for affordable dentists in your area. At your age, you could go to either a pediatric dentist or a general dentist. Many work with Care Credit which is a medical card that can allow you to may payment plans for low and even no-interest.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

When Do You Leave a Pediatric Dentist?

Everyone’s saying my daughter needs to move away from a pediatric dentist. But, we have a good relationship with our pediatric dentist. He lets parents come back into the operatory which helps me feel safe about her being treated. I’m not sure I want to let my sixteen-year-old loose with an adult dentist who may or may not allow me back with her. When do we have to leave?

Sandra Q.

Dear Sandra,

Child with Pediatric Dentist

There isn’t a universal rule for when your child, son or daughter, should switch. Each pediatric dental office usually has their own policy. I’d talk to them and see what their policy is.

One thing I don’t want you worrying about is the safety of your daughter with dentists. I know there have been some stories in the news that would make any parent nervous, but those are very rare indeed. If you’re afraid, many general dentists will also let parents back into the operatory. When you’re calling around, simply ask them.

Are General Dentists Qualified to Treat Children?

If you’re looking for a sort of transitional period, there are general dentists who treat children. They’re perfectly qualified. All of them did a pediatric rotation during dental school. They just didn’t do the extra time to specialize in it. By the time they’re sixteen, you rarely have to worry about something coming up totally pediatric related that they’ll need to give you a specialist recommendation.

In fact, their jaws are developing more into an adult’s, so things like crowns and composite fillings may be better suited to an “adult” dentist. Teenagers also start getting interested in procedures such as teeth whitening, which most pediatric dentists don’t offer. Be aware, though, that their bite is still developing so don’t listen to a dentist who suggests that they’re ready for something like porcelain veneers.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Do Lumineers Cause Cavities?

I spoke to my dentist about the possibility of getting Lumineers. I really wanted to get a prettier smile. My dentist said he was certified in Lumineers but he’s only done them twice and will never do them again. He said both times his patients developed cavities underneath the Lumineers. Do they cause cavities? Do I have a chance of getting a pretty smile? How do the celebrities not get cavities under their Lumineers?

Franny W.

Dear Franny,

An advertisement for Lumineers

Here’s the thing about Lumineers. They’re marketed to inexperienced dentists. It appears your dentist is one of those. Lumineers is just a brand of porcelain veneers. The only way a patient can get a cavity from Lumineers is if your dentist doesn’t bond them on properly.

When the bond isn’t flush to the gums and correctly on the tooth, food can get trapped between the veneers and your teeth. That will lead to decay. I’m guessing that’s what happened with the two cases your dentist did.

You can get a beautiful smile with porcelain veneers, but probably not with this dentist.

How to Get a Beautiful Smile With or Without Lumineers

The key to a beautiful smile is a dentist with skill in giving smile makeovers. Ask to see before and after pictures of cases they’ve actually done. Make sure you like the type of results they’ve gotten. Additionally, make sure they will never permanently bond on any type of veneers without you seeing them with a temporary place and giving your approval that you like the results. This is a reasonable request and any true cosmetic dentist would consider it a no-brainer.

What about those patients who can’t afford porcelain veneers? Are they doomed to smiles that looked aged and exhausted? Absolutely not. The simple procedure of teeth whitening can take years off your appearance. It’s very affordable and if there are other things you want to improve, will give you something you’re proud of while you save up for veneers.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.